|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
January 27, 2006
Sharon Rose, 303-236-4580
Public Hearing on February 9, 2006, in Bozeman, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Proposal to Remove Yellowstone Area Population of Grizzly Bears from List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish a distinct population segment of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and surrounding area. In addition, the Service proposes to remove this same Yellowstone population of grizzly bears from the list of threatened and endangered wildlife as it no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Robust population growth, coupled with State and Federal cooperation to manage mortality and habitat, widespread public support for grizzly bear recovery, and the development of adequate regulatory mechanisms has brought about recovery for the grizzly bears in this area, necessitating a change in its status.
The proposed delisting of the Yellowstone area population of grizzly bears will not change the threatened status of the remaining grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, which remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.
A public hearing will be held on February 9, 2006, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2023 Commerce Way, Bozeman. An open house was already held in Bozeman on January 9, 2006, which provided the public with an opportunity to obtain more information and ask questions on the Service’s proposals for a distinct population segment and delisting. Comments from the public may also be provided to the Service via electronic or regular mail or hand delivered. All comments receive the same review.
Public comments are encouraged and will be accepted until close of business on February 15, 2006. Written comments may be sent to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, University Hall 309, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812. Comments may also be hand delivered to the same office. Comments may be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to FW6_grizzly_yellowstone@fws.gov.
The core of the proposed Yellowstone distinct population segment is the Yellowstone Recovery Zone, which is approximately 9,200 square miles. It includes Yellowstone National Park; a portion of Grand Teton National Park; John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway; sizable contiguous portions of the Shoshone, Bridger-Teton, Targhee, Gallatin, Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Custer National Forests; BLM lands; and surrounding State and private lands.
Grizzly bears are generally larger and more heavily built than other bears. They can also be distinguished from black bears, which also occur in the lower 48 states, by longer, curved claws, humped shoulders, and a face that appears to be concave. A wide range of coloration from light brown to nearly black is common. The average weight of grizzly bears is generally 400 to 600 pounds for males and 250 to 350 pounds for females. Grizzly bears are long-lived mammals, generally living around 25 years.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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